Few things make me feel more sophisticated and lady-like than high tea. As such, on a gorgeous late-summer day, mom and I visited Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon for a little indulgence.
Located at the Inn at Irving Place – a landmark townhouse built in 1834 – the salon has an air of refinement, without the pretense. As the site states (which couldn’t be more true), “the Victorian style architecture and furnishings recreate a time of sublime elegance. Guests can easily envision Edith Wharton or Elsie De Wolfe entertaining friends at the turn of the century.”
We arrived promptly for our noon seating and were quickly escorted to our table – a lovely one for two, right next to a window, with a gorgeous fresh flower arrangement displayed there on.
We first ordered a mimosa and then were presented with our tea selections (of which there were many). I opted for the jasmine tea, which was light, fragrant and just lovely.
Upon taking our tea order, we were offered the first of our five courses, which was a min-butternut squash tart. With a heart shaped dollop of crème fraiche.
The second course was tea sandwiches and our selection included: smoked salmon with dill cream cheese on pumpernickel; cucumber with mint crème fraiche on brioche; classic egg salad on rye (which was my absolute favorite, enough to take a second helping) and smoked turkey and cranberry on seven grain.
We were then offered our third course, consisting of scones (a plain and cranberry) with Devonshire clotted cream and house made preserves (raspberry).
The dessert course was “Lady Mendl’s Signature Cake” which is a tissue paper thin, twenty-Layer Crepe Cake filled with French pastry cream. It was light, delicious and obvious why it’s their signature dish. While we were quite full at this point, we couldn’t say no to this amazing cake.
And finally, we were presented with the fifth course of assorted cookies and chocolate covered strawberries (which we merely picked at, as we were far from hungry).
Overall, the service was excellent, white gloved and very attentive. It was clear that the servers understood the ritual of high tea and took pride in their job. The room was gorgeous with beautiful high ceilings (and wonderful crown molding) with a floral and feminine feel.
While high tea at The Plaza is still my favorite experience, this was a close second and I would quickly recommend this to anyone looking for a nice, indulgent girl’s day out.
I’m always on the hunt for new tea places to try….any NYC suggestions?